The influenza virus enters the body of a pregnant woman by airborne droplets, spreads rapidly and destroys the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, causing a variety of complications.
Colds and flu during pregnancy: how to distinguish?
Symptoms of acute respiratory viral infections and influenza are very similar: the same cough, sneezing, nasal congestion, chills, fever, and headache. But there are some specific symptoms of the flu virus:
- the onset of the disease is usually acute: body temperature rises sharply and high – up to 39-40 degrees;
- chills, joint pain;
- the pallor of the skin, sometimes a bluish nasolabial triangle and a bright blush on the cheeks;
- photophobia and intolerance to loud sounds;
- weakness, a feeling of weakness, dizziness;
- cough and runny nose do not appear immediately, but only on the second or third day of the disease;
- sometimes – abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, especially if it is intestinal flu during pregnancy;
- the acute condition lasts about 7 days – longer than the usual SARS.
But do not get too carried away and look for signs of the flu during pregnancy on the forum or interview sick friends, because the most reliable diagnostic method is not an assessment of external symptoms, but laboratory tests:
- smears from the mucous membranes of the throat and nose;
- blood test for anti-influenza antibodies.
It is especially important to insist on conducting tests if a flu epidemic is not officially announced in the region and the doctor is limited to a visual examination of the pregnant woman and a diagnosis of SARS. The tactics of treatment and the health of the unborn baby depend on how quickly and correctly a pregnant woman’s disease is diagnosed.
Influenza during pregnancy: consequences
Influenza is a dangerous complication that can affect many organs and systems of the body. Here are just a few of them:
- from the respiratory system: bronchitis, tracheobronchitis, sinusitis, adenoiditis, tonsillitis, otitis media;
- from the cardiovascular system: inflammation of the muscles and membranes of the heart, heart failure;
- from the reproductive system: hormonal disruptions, miscarriages, premature births, the insufficient blood supply in the placenta, oligohydramnios, intrauterine growth retardation;
- during the flu during pregnancy, chronic diseases of the digestive tract, urogenital and endocrine systems, cardiovascular diseases and allergic reactions are often exacerbated.
When is pregnant flu the most dangerous?
The most undesirable thing is to get the flu in the first trimester of pregnancy when the baby’s internal organs are formed. If a woman gets the flu in the first trimester, the pregnancy often terminates spontaneously.
If the interruption did not occur, the woman was successfully cured, but worries how the baby suffered the disease, it is necessary to do an ultrasound scan and donate blood for AFP, hCG, and estriol at the recommended time for screening to exclude the possibility of fetal abnormalities.
In the first trimester, you should especially carefully select flu drugs. During pregnancy, some drugs are allowed, including some antibiotics, but for up to 12 weeks, many drugs can be used only if the potential benefit to the mother significantly exceeds the possible risk to the child.
In the second and third trimesters, the flu is not so dangerous for pregnancy, but the flu can cause intrauterine infection of the fetus, leading to the birth of children with developmental disabilities and a predisposition to various diseases during the neonatal period.
If a woman becomes ill with the flu during pregnancy, it is necessary to consult a therapist as soon as possible to prescribe treatment. If you are worried about how the infection affected the fetus, you can consult a geneticist.
Prevention of influenza during pregnancy: drugs
For influenza prophylaxis, oxolin ointment or Viferon gel are often used – they are applied to the nasal mucosa before leaving the house. If you are traveling on public transport in the midst of a seasonal flu epidemic, do not neglect the gauze bandage.
Prevention of influenza during pregnancy consists not only in the use of drugs but also in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A pregnant woman should eat well, take vitamins, often ventilate the room where she is, and avoid crowded places, especially during epidemics.
The vaccine against influenza during pregnancy will also effectively protect: it can be done from the 14th week of pregnancy – the inactivated influenza virus contained in the vaccine is safe for both mother and baby.
Pregnancy Flu Treatment
To combat the flu virus and its unpleasant symptoms, there are many drugs that are allowed even for pregnant women.
- To lower the temperature, Paracetamol can be used if the nose is blocked – Pinosol drops, if the throat hurts – chamomile broth, soda solution or Furacilin rinse solution, as well as Faringosept resorption tablets, can be used as an expectorant for the marshmallow root.
- Immunomodulators are another way to cure the flu during pregnancy, but you should consult your doctor before using them.
- Many expectant mothers use homeopathy for the treatment of acute respiratory viral infections and influenza: Oscillococcinum and Flu Hel during pregnancy are allowed for use.
- Alternative medicines and herbal medicine can also be used as a medicine for influenza during pregnancy. Antitussive breast collection, inhalation with an infusion of calendula or chamomile or essential oil of fir, eucalyptus, tea tree, a plentiful drink with vitamin C: fruit drinks, tea with raspberries or lemon and honey, broth of rose hips – all this will help a pregnant woman recover faster.
But antibiotics are not what you need to treat flu during pregnancy. Antibiotics can only help with bacterial complications caused by the flu, and they do not affect the virus itself.
It is very unpleasant to get sick with the flu during pregnancy, but far from always, this leads to unpleasant consequences. Even a woman who is seriously ill with influenza can give birth to a baby without pathologies, the main thing is the timely diagnosis, treatment strictly under the supervision of a doctor and a positive attitude!